Facing death, bankruptcy, public humiliation, loss of loved one, loss of job, starting a new business, giving significantly to help another, giving up your job or something of great importance not to violate God’s ways, or downgrading to a flip phone (thought I would put something catastrophic in the list!) all put your faith on the line. These challenges might be asking any of these questions: Do you really believe there is a God?” Can your God carry you through this difficult time? Is your God worth what you would have to go through? The challenges you are confronted with as a follower of Christ do challenge your faith, but they also give God great opportunities to be your God!
We all face challenges. The question is how you deal with them. These four convictions will help you better meet those challenges: 1) As long as you are seeking and following God you are in His hands. God promises to use all circumstances for your good. 2) Know that your Shepherd is taking care of you. You are ultimately in His hands. Psalm 23:1 says: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” (NIV) 3) Make God your first call. Psalm 18:3 says: “I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” (NIV) Do not wait till you are deep in trouble to call on God. Ask God early on to help with your challenges. Do not make God an afterthought, but your consuming thought, so He can be your consuming fire. Calling on God is more than asking to be rescued or taken care of, but to widen your horizon. We tend to see troubles strictly as negative, while in fact they may be opportunities for God to further shape your character, draw you closer to Him, challenge who you treasure most, kill sin or harmful character, or direct you to something better. Focusing outward and not just inward can allow God to more easily work in your life. 4) Trust God with your situation. Conditions of life can quickly consume you unless you give them to God as Philippians 4:6-7 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(NIV)
Allow God’s peace, hope, and assurance to shape your life rather than the events of life. Life is fickle and fleeting, while your God is eternal and faithful. Allow God’s full character to fill your life, so that your life becomes God’s life in you.
John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (NIV)
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